Tagged Germany

A Turkish wedding in Germany

I like weddings. It’s nice to witness two people declare their love for each other in front of friends and family. I especially like weddings in foreign countries – they give a very good view of the traditions of a certain culture. This year I was lucky enough to attend a Turkish wedding in Germany. Dortmund was the final stop of my three month trip. As a treat to myself, I splurged on a hotel room for the two nights I was there. The hotel also happened to be very close to the wedding venue.

After breakfast, I had time to walk around sunny Dortmund before heading to the wedding in the afternoon.
After breakfast, I had time to walk around sunny Dortmund before heading to the wedding in the afternoon.
The Dortmund Christmas Market s one of the biggest in Germany. The massive Christmas three stands in the centre of the 300 stalls.
The Dortmund Christmas Market is one of the biggest in Germany. The massive Christmas three stands in the centre of the 300 stalls.

I was told that the wedding starts at four, and as a typical Finn, I arrived at the venue a few minutes beforehand. But this was a Turkish wedding, so the schedule was a little bit different.

When I arrived, the venue was empty. Luckily there was going to be another wedding at the same venue, and the guests of the other wedding were able to tell me how Turkish weddings work. Officially the wedding starts at four, but guests usually arrive between five and six.
When I arrived, the venue was empty. Luckily there was going to be another wedding in the same building, and the guests of the other wedding were able to tell me how Turkish weddings work. Officially the wedding starts at four, but guests usually arrive between five and six.
I returned to the venue at six and walked into a room full of dancing people.
I returned to the venue at six and walked into a room full of dancing people.
Around seven, the bride and groom entered and danced their first dance together.
Around seven, the bride and groom entered and danced their first dance together. I love how the kids (and later at night, adults) get lightsabers to play with.

So what do Turkish weddings consist of?

Some of this.
Some of this.
A lot of this.
A lot of this.
But mostly this.
But mostly this.
At a Turkish wedding, the bride dances with everyone.
At a Turkish wedding, the bride dances with everyone.
At one stage, two musicians came onto the dance floor with a big drum and some kind of trumpet, playing loud music to really get the party going.
At one stage, two musicians came onto the dance floor, playing loud music with a big drum and some kind of trumpet.
The party really got going, when hundreds of guests danced like crazy, holding onto each other with their pinky fingers. I thought my finger would rip off!
The party really got going, when hundreds of guests danced like crazy, only holding onto each other’s pinky fingers.
The bridal couple sat at the front of the venue with good views of all the guests.
The bridal couple sat at the front of the venue with good views of all the guests.
The gift giving ceremony, where guest either put cash in the heart-shaped basket or decorate the bride with golden jewellery.
At the gift giving ceremony guests either put cash in the heart-shaped basket or decorate the bride with golden jewellery.
The final program of the evening (before some more dancing, of course) was the cutting of the wedding cake.
The final program of the evening (before some more dancing, of course) was the cutting of the wedding cake.
So grateful I could be part of this special day. I didn't understand a word during the entire evening, but everyone welcomed me with open arms to join in the festivities.
So grateful I could be part of this special day. I didn’t understand a word during the entire evening, but everyone welcomed me with open arms to join in the festivities.

Three months ago, I started my trip by dancing folk dance in Budapest. The circle closed in Dortmund by dancing at a Turkish wedding.

The long way from New York to Dortmund

It’s kind of fun trying to find the most affordable way to travel. While travelling on a budget, you often see more places, meet more people and experience more things. I knew I needed to be in Dortmund on Saturday but decided to do a little tour north of the German city first. Mostly this was due to Dortmund not being a huge city, so flying there directly from New York wouldn’t have been possible anyway. The cheapest flight from New York to anywhere nearby Dortmund was to Copenhagen. I crossed the atlantic with Norwegian Air, landed in the capital of Denmark and took a train from the airport to the city centre. Having a few hours before my train to Hamburg would depart, I had time to eat lunch before continuing my journey.

Having flown all night and being jet lagged, I fell asleep quickly after getting on the train to Hamburg. I woke up some time later to the repeating announcement of how it’s not allowed to stay on the train. Half asleep and having no idea what was happening, I followed the other passengers up some stairs. We were in some kind of lobby with shops and restaurants. Suddenly we started moving. The train had boarded a ferry!

After the ferry ride and a while longer on the train, I arrived in Hamburg where I had booked a hotel room for one night. It was such a strange feeling: within 24 hours, I had gone from an apartment in Brooklyn to a hotel room in Hamburg. I had been in three countries on two continents using three means of transport.

I stayed in A&O Hostel and Hotel near Hamburg central station. While the hostel has dorms, I opted for my own hotel room after a whole night and day of travelling. A private room set me back 36 €.

I had the following day in Hamburg all to myself, because I wasn’t continuing my journey towards Dortmund until the evening. Hamburg is an easy city to walk around in, but public transport is also good there. I bought a day pass for 5,90 € that allowed me to travel as much as I wanted on the S-bahn and the U-bahn.

St. Michael's church is a symbol of the city. But on a day like this - not so much.
St. Michael’s church is a symbol of the city. But on a day like this – not so much.
The Rathaus, or city hall, is 111 meters wide with 647 rooms.
The Rathaus, or city hall, is 111 meters wide with 647 rooms.
Next to Rathaus, in the basement of Buckerus Kunst Forum, you can fill a plate of vegetarian food for 10 € at Restaurant Season.
Next to Rathaus, in the basement of Bucerius Kunst Forum, you can fill a plate with vegetarian food for 10 € at Restaurant Season.
The Old Elbe tunnel was built in the beginning of the 20th century as a means to link the port and the shipyards together.
The Old Elbe tunnel was built in the beginning of the 20th century as a means to link the port and the shipyards together.
Before moving on to my next destination, I sat down at Café Koppel for a bowl of vegetable soup.
Before moving on to my next destination, I sat down at Café Koppel for a bowl of vegetable soup.

In the evening, I took the final train to the last leg of my three month trip, Dortmund.